A Magherafelt pensioner robbed of even the rings on her fingers during an “aggravated burglary” is afraid to return to her home of 50-years.
Aged 84, and still suffering the after effects of a stroke, Anna McGuckin was left “completely traumatised” after four masked men crow-barred their way into her Queens Avenue house on Friday evening.
As well as prying the wedding rings from her fingers as she lay in bed, the masked robbers were also reported to have taken her medication.
Although no arrests have yet been made, a PSNI spokesperson said detectives are trying to ascertain whether “the same people may have been involved in other incidents on the same night”.
Speaking about the aftermath of the attack, son Ian McGuckin told the Mail: “My Ma is completely traumatised. She doesn’t want to go back to the house... she’s frightened.
“My mother has been there 50 years. The houses were built and she was the first one to move in and she has never left it. This is the first time she has actually been out of the house and afraid to go back.”
On hearing that some of Mrs McGuckin’s neighbours have been left very worried by the burglary, he said: “It’s all elderly neighbours up there.
“These things should not happen to elderly people in any society - no matter what religion, class or creed.”
Describing the events of that night, he continued: “These people entered the premises, they broke the back door down and she actually thought it was her grandson back... until these two people were standing at her bedside.
“That’s when it hit her.”
Asked if they had been aggressive towards his mother, Ian added: “She’s completely black and blue. They literally held her down and took her rings off. Her hands are marked, her back is marked. She has one on her back and it’s massive, where they forced her down.
“They completely ransacked the house,” he went on. “You would swear there was a bomb.
“When’s it going to stop,” he asked, “does some elderly person have to take a heart attack and die?
“I just hope these people’s caught, get them off the street before they really do hurt some elderly person.
“Every emotion goes through your body,” he explained, “Hatred, contempt, you feel pity for the family because that’s what they’ve brought up in this society.
“These people have to be taught a lesson and put away for a long, long time.”
Since the burglary, Ian said the family have been overwhelmed by the help and support they have received from local people as well as Ballymena’s Front Page Bar, which has offered a £500 reward for the return of Mrs McGuckin’s rings.
“They have been brilliant,” he said, “Everybody.”